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Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: Best Data Provider When Traveling In the US? 123

An anonymous reader writes: I am visiting USA 3-4 times a year and I need a data service. I also need to keep my cell phone number, so swapping the SIM card in my phone is not an option. I have bought those 19.95$ phones in Best-Buy to get a local number, but those were voice only. So I have been thinking about getting a MiFi hotspot.

I have been looking at pre-paid plans from Verizon(only 700 LTE band for their pre-paid hotspot), AT&T, T-Mobile etc. perhaps to put in a MiFi hotspot or buy a hotspot from a provider, but have no idea which one to use, their reputation, real life coverage etc. It is clear that all data plans in the USA are really expensive, I get 100GB monthly traffic with my Scandinavian provider for the same price as 6-8 GB monthly in the US, which I guess could be a problem with our Apple phones as they do not recognize a metered WiFi hotspot. But that is another issue. I travel all over but most of the time outside the big cities -- and my experience from roaming with my own phone and the cheap local phone so far tells me that coverage fluctuates wildly depending on the operator.
Wireless Networking

French Woman Gets €800/month For Electromagnetic-Field 'Disability' 427

An anonymous reader writes: If you were dismayed to hear Tuesday's news that a school is being sued over Wi-Fi sickness, you might be even more disappointed in a recent verdict by the French judicial system. A court based in Toulouse has awarded a disability claim of €800 (~$898) per month for three years over a 39-year-old woman's "hypersensitivity to electromagnetic waves." Robin Des Toits, an organization that campaigns for "sufferers" of this malady, was pleased: "We can no longer say that it is a psychiatric illness." (Actually, we can and will.) The woman has been living in a remote part of France's south-west mountains with no electricity around. She claims to be affected by common gadgets like cellphones.
Security

Most Healthcare Managers Admit Their IT Systems Have Been Compromised 122

Lucas123 writes: Eighty-one percent of healthcare IT managers say their organizations have been compromised by at least one malware, botnet or other kind of cyber attack during the past two years, and only half of those managers feel that they are adequately prepared to prevent future attacks, according to a new survey by KPMG. The KPMG survey polled 223 CIOs, CTOs, chief security officers and chief compliance officers at healthcare providers and health plans, and found 65% indicated malware was most frequently reported line of attack during the past 12 to 24 months. Additionally, those surveyed indicated the areas with the greatest vulnerabilities within their organization include external attackers (65%), sharing data with third parties (48%), employee breaches (35%), wireless computing (35%) and inadequate firewalls (27%). Top among reasons healthcare facilities are facing increased risk, was the adoption of digital patient records and the automation of clinical systems.
The Internet

Why In-Flight Wi-Fi Is Still Slow and Expensive 193

An anonymous reader writes: Let's grant that having access to the internet while on an airplane is pretty amazing. When airlines first began offering it several years ago, it was agonizingly slow and somewhat pricey as well. Unfortunately, it's only gotten more expensive over the years, and the speeds are still frustrating. This is in part because the main provider of in-flight internet, Gogo, knows most of its regular customers will pay for it, regardless of cost. Business travelers with expense accounts don't care if it's $1 or $10 or $50 — they need to stay connected. Data speeds haven't improved because Gogo says the scale isn't big enough to do much infrastructure investment, and most of the hardware is custom-made. A third of Gogo-equipped planes can manage 10 Mbps, while the rest top out at 3 Mbps. There's hope on the horizon — the company says a new satellite service should enable 70 Mbps per plane by the end of the year — but who knows how much they'll charge for an actual useful connection.
Networking

Virgin Media To Base a Public Wi-Fi Net On Paying Customers' Routers 112

An anonymous reader writes with a story that Virgin Media "announced this month its plans to roll out a free public WiFi network this autumn, using subscribers' personal routers and existing infrastructure to distribute the service across UK cities." And while regular customers' routers are to be the basis of the new network, the publicly viewable overlay would operate over "a completely separate connection," and the company claims subscribers' performance will not be hindered. Why, then, would customers bother to pay? For one thing, because the free version is slow: 0.5Mbps, vs. 10Mbps for Virgin's customers.
Advertising

Why Google Wants To Sell You a Wi-Fi Router 198

lpress writes: Last quarter, Google made $16 billion on advertising and $1.7 billion on "other sales." I don't know how "other sales" breaks down, but a chunk of that is hardware devices like the Pixel Chromebook, Chromecast, Next thermostat, Nexus phone and, now, WiFi routers. Does the world need another $200 home router? Why would Google bother? I can think of a couple of strategic reasons — they hope it will become a home-automation hub (competing with the Amazon Echo) and it will enable them to dynamically configure and upgrade your home or small office network for improved performance (hence more ads).
Businesses

Sprint Drops Two-Year Contracts 112

An anonymous reader writes: Following the recent news that Verizon has ended smartphone subsidies, now Sprint has announced it is ending two-year contracts as well. This leaves AT&T as the last of the major carriers to offer such a plan. Most consumers will now have to get used to paying full price for their phones, though Sprint is also running a phone-leasing plan that lets people pay an additional $22/month for an 16GB iPhone, with yearly upgrades.
Communications

FCC Fines Smart City $750K For Blocking Wi-Fi 188

schwit1 writes: FCC's Enforcement Bureau today announced a $750,000 settlement with Smart City Holdings, LLC for blocking consumers' Wi-Fi at various convention centers around the United States. Smart City, an Internet and telecommunications provider for conventions, meeting centers, and hotels, had been blocking personal mobile 'hotspots' that were being used by convention visitors and exhibitors who used their own data plans rather than paying Smart City substantial fees to use the company's Wi-Fi service.
Medicine

Video WearDuino Uses Arduinos to Make Wearable Medical Sensors (Video) 14

WearDuino, now being developed by PDX Wearable Health Lab, is the brainchild of Mark Leavitt, MD, PhD; "an experimenter, maker, mentor and consultant in wearable health technologies, drawing on his lifelong experience in the fields of engineering and medicine." The WearDuino, he says, "is an open source wearable wireless sensor." The prototype fits in a FitBit case because, according to Dr. Leavitt, there are millions of unused ones out there, both surplussed by people who bought Fitbits and then stopped using them, and in the form of aftermarket cases sold to make your Fitbit cuter than when it came from the factory. In any case, WearDuino is still in the prototype stage. Dr. Leavitt plans to look for funding through Crowd Supply, but isn't "there" yet, so if you want to get on board with this health wearables project, you'll want to sign up for their Google Group or follow them on Twitter. You might also want to check out Quantified Self (tag line: "self knowledge through numbers"), and even if you vastly prefer videos to text articles, check out the text transcript ("Show/Hide Transcript") attached to this article, because it contains nearly twice as much information as the video, and goes a little deeper than the video into Dr. Leavitt's reasons for building the WearDuino -- none of which are financial gain, believe it or not.
Wireless Networking

The Promise of 5G 158

An anonymous reader writes: From instant monitoring of leaking pipelines, to real-time worldwide collaboration, the increase in machine-to-machine communications that 5G allows will change the way we live. This TechCrunch article takes a look at the promise that 5G holds and its possibilities. From the article: "By 2030, 5G will transform and create many uses that we cannot even think of yet. We will live in a world that will have 10-100 times more Internet-connected devices than there are humans. Hundreds of billions of machines will be sensing, processing and transmitting data without direct human control and intervention."
Communications

New Rules From the FCC Open Up New Access To Wi-Fi 64

CarlottaHapsburg writes: White space — unused channels in the VHF and UHF spectrum — is already part of daily life, from old telephones to going online at your coffee shop or plugging in baby monitors. The time has come to 'permit unlicensed fixed and personal/portable white space devices and unlicensed wireless microphones to use channels in the 600 MHz and television broadcast bands,' according to the FCC. One of the ramifications is that Wi-Fi could now blanket urban areas, as well as bringing it to rural areas and machine-to-machine technology. Rice University has tested a super Wi-Fi network linked by next-generation TV or smart remotes. Carriers are sure to be unhappy about this, but consumers will have the benefit of a newly open web.
Communications

Can Cuba Skip Cell Phone Connectivity? 138

lpress writes: Cuba has a second generation cellular network and Internet access is limited to about 5% of the population via work and school accounts and (mostly dial up) access in a few homes, so it was big news when they rolled out 35 public WiFi hotspots. Can they expand this public WiFi and skip 3G and 4G cell infrastructure until 5G equipment is available in about five years? By then, the US trade embargo will be gone, the Cuban economy will be improved and 5G and other wireless technologies will be available. Will they even need cell phone capability by then? The linked post has some interesting musings that apply to places other than Cuba, as well.
Handhelds

Hands On Samsung's New Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 At Unpacked New York 77

MojoKid writes: Samsung held their Unpacked 2015 event in New York City today and the company unveiled its latest flagship, big-screen smartphones, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note5. Immediately following the on-stage presentations and reveals, Samsung opened up a demo area featuring the new devices for direct hands-on time. Both of these phones feature a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a QHD screen resolution (2560x1440), though the sides of the S6 Edge+'s display are curved. Powering the both devices is the the same octal-core Samsung Exynos 7420 processor that's at the heart of the previously-released Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. These new phones, however, are packing 4GB of RAM—not just 3GB, like the older models and also have LTE Cat9 support and high-speed wireless charging built-in. Samsung has also beefed up the cameras; these new devices pack the same 16MP sensor from the Galaxy S6 with OIS, but an additional digital image stabilization algo which complements the optical solution to further smooth out video is included as well. Built-in software on the new devices also allows for live-streaming to YouTube.
United Kingdom

England To Test "Electric Motorways" 74

DaneTerry88 writes: Highways England plans to test under-road wireless charging equipment that could be buried beneath motorways to top-up cars as they drive. Charge-as-you-drive technologies have already been used in the South Korean town of Gumi. The town has a 12km (7.5 miles) route that allows buses to be charged as they drive over it. In a press release the agency says: "The trials are expected to begin later this year following the completion of an ongoing procurement process. The trials will involve fitting vehicles with wireless technology and testing the equipment, installed underneath the road, to replicate motorway conditions. Full details of the trials will be publicised when a successful contractor has been appointed."
Space

Samsung Researchers Propose 4,600 Micro-Satellite Space Network 75

Bismillah writes: Samsung Electronics has proposed a network consisting of 4,600 micro-satellites that could act as backhaul for terrestrial cellular networks and take low-cost internet access worldwide. They project that by 2028, cellular and Wi-Fi traffic will exceed 1 zettabyte/month, and their goal is to design a system with equivalent capacity (PDF). "With the satellite-based backhaul, cellular and wi-fi deployments become practical in remote regions of the earth where there is no wired Internet infrastructure." The plan would require significant amounts of wireless spectrum, as well as satellites capable of 1 Tb/s or higher.
Crime

Tech Firm Ubiquiti Suffers $46M Cyberheist 54

An anonymous reader writes: Brian Krebs reports that Ubiquiti Networks, known for their wireless networking hardware, has lost $46.7 million to a scam in which thieves were able to impersonate employees and initiate fraudulent wire transfers. Ubiquiti was able to recover only $8.1 million of the amounts transferred, and an additional $6.8 million is subject to legal injunction. Krebs explains, "Known variously as 'CEO fraud,' and the 'business email compromise,' the swindle that hit Ubiquiti is a sophisticated and increasingly common one targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments. ... CEO fraud usually begins with the thieves either phishing an executive and gaining access to that individual’s inbox, or emailing employees from a look-alike domain name that is one or two letters off from the target company’s true domain name." The theft was disclosed in Ubiquiti's quarterly financial report.
Google

Google Fi: Simple Until It's Not 51

An anonymous reader writes: When Google started Project Fi, one of their big goals was to make cell phone calling simple and predictable. By combining Wi-Fi calling with cellular networks and flat $10/GB pricing, they're trying to put together a service that "just works." But as Dieter Bohn writes, things can get a lot more complicated when you try to integrate it with other Google services, like Voice. He says, "Precisely what happens when you port your number from Voice to Fi (which are kind of the same thing — but not really!) is clear as mud. ... You won't lose your Google Voice number, and it will still do most of the stuff it did before, but you may have to wend your way back to the 2011-era Google Voice site to manage it. Your texts no longer forward via SMS but they're available in the Hangouts App. You can't call people from Google Voice on the web but you can from Hangouts. Oh, and on Android there's a Hangouts dialer app you can use, sometimes, just because."
Wireless Networking

ProxyHam Debunked and Demoed At DEFCON 38

darthcamaro writes: Last month, the ProxyHam project talk for DEFCON was mysteriously cancelled. In its place as a later edition is a new talk, in which the ProxyHam approach will be detailed and debunked — in a session called '"HamSammich". In a video preview of the talk, Rob Graham and Dave Maynor detail the flaws of ProxyHam and how to do the same thing with off the shelf gear, legally. "Our goal is to show that ProxyHam did not actually enhance security," Maynor said. "It does the exact opposite, causing more trouble than you can fix."
Android

Samsung To Push Monthly Over-the-Air Security Updates For Android 126

wiredmikey writes: Smartphone maker Samsung said on Wednesday that it soon will implement a new Android security update process that fast tracks mobile security patches over the air when security vulnerabilities are uncovered. The South Korea-based maker of popular Android smartphones said that it recently fast tracked security updates to its Galaxy devices in response to the recent Android "Stagefright" vulnerabilities uncovered late last month by security firm Zimperium. News of the initiative is great for Android users. For years, wireless carriers and phone manufacturers have been accused of putting profits over protection and dragging their feet on regular operating system updates, making Android users vulnerable to malware and other attacks. Nexus is also joining the monthly OTA update club.